To shoot the gorilla or not to shoot the gorilla

Following the brouhaha over the gorilla being shot to death in the Cincinnati Zoo, I conducted a survey that is as valid as any of the political surveys being done with results coming in from five states.
Seventy-five percent of those surveyed think the gorilla should have been shot and killed. Nineteen percent think the zoo was wrong in shooting the gorilla. Six percent think the mother of the child should have been shot.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, use The Google or move on to another column because I’m not going to explain it to you.
And try not to hit your head on the rock when you crawl back under it.
Of the six people who said the gorilla should not have been shot, two are females. One of them – a mother – later responded to the survey a second time and changed her vote to yes.
The survey question was simple: Should they have killed the gorilla? Yes or no.
It is almost impossible for people to answer yes or no to a question like this. I expected the females to expand upon their answers – it’s in their genes (or jeans) – but a fair number of the guys felt they had to explain their answer.
I’ll not use any names (I had to promise one responder I wouldn’t use his name before he would answer.)
“Tranquilizer should have worked fine. It wasn’t the gorilla’s fault.”
This same responder went on to say: “They have free online forms you can make for this kind of unscientific survey rather than relying on old-fashioned group emails. Come on, Pop. Get with the times.”
And here I was thinking sending out a group email was hip and cool and modern. (Are hip and cool still hip and cool?)
A number of my responders (only one of them was the first responder) placed on the blame on the child’s mother/parents. To me, once the child fell into the enclosure, that becomes a moot point. The fact is, the child is in with the gorilla. How do you save the child is the only question that matters.
A tranquilizer could have taken up to 10 minutes to take effect, one responder said. “Much too long for this situation. The child’s safety should have been the Number 1 concern.”
The person who made me promise anonymity may have had the best response. “To what have we come to in society that an animal’s life has more value that that of a human? To anyone who answers ‘no,’ I simply ask if that were your child, would YOU pull the trigger and kill the animal?”
Several LFSR (Larry Franklin Survey Responders) expressed sympathy for the members of the zoo’s dangerous animal response team (DART).
“I believed they cared for the animal as much, or more than, we do. I suspect they are heartbroken.”
“I think killing him was the LAST thing they wanted to do.”
After he was rescued, the child was taken to the hospital, where he was reported to be in serious condition with non-life threatening injuries.
People on the interwebs are wanting his mother to be charged with neglect. Any parent who can’t imagine something like this ever happening to them and their child is a parent who has trouble telling the truth. Unless you keep your child in a cage—like a gorilla.

(Larry Franklin is publisher of The Chronicle. His email address is His blog can be read on

My Clinton News

P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902


Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to My Clinton News Newsletter feed
Comment Here